New £3bn aircraft carrier docks at Highland port
Britain’s newest aircraft carrier – the £3 billion HMS Prince of Wales – cruised into the Cromarty Firth yesterday to restock with fuel and supplies at Invergordon.
It was its first port of call since leaving Rosyth dockyard in Fife, where the 65,000-tonne ship was built, to then undergo sea trials in the North Sea and outer Moray Firth.
HMS Prince of Wales, with hundreds of crew on board, will stay briefly in the Highland port before continuing trials throughout the autumn.
It is expected to draw huge crowds to the Easter Ross town over the weekend and its presence has been welcomed by councillor and SNP group leader Maxine Smith.
She said: “Invergordon is seeing an increasing number of naval vessels docking and they are always welcome. It will mean business for the local hostelries and shops and an opportunity for the sailors to get a taste of Highland hospitality.”
Further short breaks are planned in Invergordon during the trials to take on fresh supplies before the ship makes its debut in Portsmouth – joining sister carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth – followed by a formal commissioning in December.
HMS Queen Elizabeth also conducted sea trials in the Moray Firth and North Sea in 2017 and spent a prolonged period in Invergordon after debris was stuck in a propeller.
The Royal Navy said HMS Prince of Wales had this week achieved top speed of 25 knots when its six engines were pushed to “full throttle” in the North Sea trials.
Britain’s newest aircraft carrier Prince of Wales arrives in the Cromarty Firth.